KGO Radio Says ‘Goodbye’ Ahead Of Format Change


(CTN News) – After 80 years at 810 on the AM dial, KGO, one of the last classic news talk radio stations in San Francisco, has announced a format change.

As a reflection of what is widely considered to be the twilight of terrestrial talk radio, the announcement was issued on Twitter.

It stated, “We thank you for your loyalty and trust in KGO as your source of information,” in the Tweet. The new era of 810AM begins on Monday. We hope you will be able to attend.”

Cumulus Media, which owns the station, did not respond to a request for comment or confirm the new format.

An employee of the station speculated that the station would become an outlet for sports talk and sports betting.

The Desk, a news website covering the media, reported that the station would switch to “sports talk and related programming.”

As far as local programming is concerned, KGO has already discontinued most of it, starting with the dismissal of most of its local hosts a decade ago. Instead, it shifted from news-talk to all news, where it floundered for years until it attempted to regain its position in talk radio in 2019.

Legendary morning host Ronn Owens left the station after more than four decades in the morning-drive time slot about a year ago.

“KGO is gone. It’s history, turn off the lights,” said Owens by phone from Arizona where he is living in retirement.

As a result of a pending legal action, Owens left the show without saying goodbye or thanking his listeners.

For 31 years, we ranked No. 1 out of 80 stations in the market. They attempted to make KGO all news on a budget, and it was a disaster,” he stated.

In the 1980s and 1990s, what was discussed on KGO’s airwaves set the daily agenda for the Bay Area.

In the words of Mickey Luckoff, the retired former president and general manager of KGO, “Everything was live and local.” KGO claims to have invented the term “Newstalk,” which it has tried to trademark.

We were the first and best station to combine polished personality talk shows with news blocks.

A former ABC network, it was sold to Capital Cities, which subsequently became a part of Disney. In 2008, Disney sold the network to Citadel, which went into bankruptcy and was eventually purchased by Cumulus.

According to Luckoff, all programming will be syndicated.

‘This is just the latest in a long string of sad moments for KGO since it dropped from No. 1 in the ratings in 2009, after 30 years on top,’ says Bay Area radio historian Ben Fong-Torres.”

As with the Oakland A’s, it has cut budgets, let major talent go, and ignored what remains of its audience.”

Is KGO changing?

KGO, among the last of the classic news talk call-in radio stations in San Francisco, announced a format change Thursday, after 80 years at 810 on the AM dial.

In a sign of the times reflecting what’s widely considered to be the twilight of terrestrial talk radio, the announcement was issued on Twitter.